Torsdag, ISES conference

Plenarföreläsning, Daniel Mills, Equitation and problem behaviour in the horse, principles and practice: a moral framework – how horses matter, caring about versus caring for, horse interests, conflict of interest and their resolution. 


Matter – can they suffer, then we need to give them consideration. Have no moral status, have instrumental/extrinsic value which is now turning towards a higher value even within the EU legislation, have intrinsic value. Lupton 1884 "when stables were built in which a breathing animal was to be treated as an innate chattel (possession)". Instrumental value, and horses are morally important, in the US animal abuse is seen as a red flag for abusing people. 


Intrinsic value – we have direct duties to them, we do not harm horses as it would hurt them and this matters. Moral position of the horse: moral agents/capable of making moral decisions, moral dependents and moral patients with sentience and autonomy/horses, young children, mentally handicapped etc. 


Caring about or for horses – about is caring about your own interests, for is caring for the horses' interests. About does not have to be morally wrong, but the impact on the wellbeing might not be totally ok. Interests of the horses, telos, interests of this horse, individual – understanding interests. Maslow's hierarchy of needs: physiological/food, drink, shelter, rest, reproduction, safety needs/security, social needs/belonging, psychological needs/esteem, competence, approval, self-actualisation needs/individual potential - need to fulfill the basic ones first, but are no options. 


We need an ethical framework to introduce consistency in conflict of interest with the horse. Prima favie principles in human medical care: cure and improve/beneficence, do no harm/non malevelence and who decides what is not, treat not as a case/autonomy, fairness/justice.


How to treat stereotypic behaviour? 1. define the problem, 2. understand the risk factors (crib-biters blink more frequently, like authistic children, dopamin related, unlike weavers so risk factors are different), 3. prevention is better than cure, 4. evaluate all options, 5. treat individuals not conditions. 


Problem with punishment: reduces autonomy, reduces well-being, unfair when humane alternative exist, may encourage instrumentalisation of animals, but is it always wrong? Electric fences, containment is depriving autonomy? 


Caring for horses: objective scientific approach to assessing welfare to understand animals from their own perspective, humility recognice that we do not know it all. Give consideration as moral patients, education to ensure the interests of horses as individuals. The owner/carer has the burden of proof if saying my horse has exceptional needs, like standing alone etc. The duty of care now instead of avoid unnecessary suffering – Sverige har fortfarande i djurskyddslagen? 


Presenterade studier:

Fischer om att cortisol i saliven och pulsmätning visar stress hos treåriga ston när de flyttas från grupphållning till enskilda boxar, men frågor om inte kontrollgrupp skulle gjort studien säkrare. 


Paolo Baragli et al om life experience and object-direction - older horses react less, younger have greater avoidance behaviour, have greater motivation to explore, even though the unknown object could still give avoidance behaviour. 


Manuela Wulf et al, does gender affect the manageability – during the last ten years many more stallions compete. Differences between gender are detectible before puberty, fillies are more interested and therefore more trainable. Comment, the mares are just baseline, the colts have hormones already from birth.


Troligen poster presentation: Ten centimeters of shorter rein gives one kilo more pressure in the mouth plus more aversive behaviour. 


Hall, how do we know the horse is a happy athlete? Underlaying cause clear, like pain or fear. Cortisol levels go up with exercise, but decreases after ridden work in some horses, went up in others. The first ones gave signs of being happy or not unhappy, the latter ones seemed unhappy in behaviour. 


Paul McGreevy, whipping of Australian thoroughbred racehorses – is called encouraging at the moment. Does not give result in higher speed, horses actually go slower.


Malin Axel-Nilsson – dressage riders want less of the character characteristics in a horse than show jumping riders. Den enkäten har jag ju fyllt i! Minns inte att jag svarade enligt det som blev typmallen.


Visser et al – conventional training, first to go in a walker, natural training, schooling to avoid pressure, body language etc. Heart rate lower in naturally trained horses at mounting. Horses trained by their caretakers in conventional, but study searched for the best natural trainers.


Inga Wolframm, development of mental skills in riders – useful for riders to assess their own use of mental skills prior to competing, raises awareness of mental skills and progression, takes into account how... hm.


Line Peerstrup Ahrendt et al, ability to learn by observation – previous studies indicated horses can not learn from observe each other. Opening a box with food, 2-3 year old warmbloods in first experiment, mixed ages in larger second experiment, though first came out with more horses learning by observation than control group, second no difference = do not learn from observation.


Jens Malmkvist et al, behaviour and stress responses in horses with gastric ulcerations –racehorses 86 percent, 93 of endurance, about 50 of leisure horses. Both the non and ulcerated horses were in very good body condition. Behaviour at feeding, ulcerated eat slightly faster. Novel object test, ulcerated horse spent longer time away from, HR the same, so no higher behaviour level. Stress hormones, baseline about the same, response higher in ulcerated. No clear outer signs.


Amy Mills et al, pirouettes in the warm-up and performance at shows – warm up/general, passive, specific, activation of proprioceptor and neuromuscular pathways, balance towards fatigue. Very little effect, neither had preparatory movements, but increased frequency of zig zag. The big names did very little of the difficult movements in the warm-up.


Imke Schellekens-Bartels presenterade hästar och personal på Academy Bartels: Tots one of top horses, not clipped. Vi hade noterat i rasthagarna att hästarna kunde ha både ett och två täcken fast det var varmt och ingen faktiskt verkade klippt. 20 anställda 32 hästar med 5 beridare och 4 i stallet, även sportcoaching och events. The horse is the best mirror we can have, the long way is the shortest way, Imke. Alla hästar går på 800-metersoval ngn gång i veckan och rids ut. Fråga om tandgnissel, Imke att ser som observation att hästen tycker ngt är svårt, eftergift så fort den klarat av uppgiften.



Holländskt rent och fint, men allt var inte sterilt. Gården vid gamla ridhuset och en av bostäderna.






Kristallkronor i ridhuset. Vi funderade över om de var dithängda för konferensen och Global Dressage Forum, men de i andra änden av ridhuset var så majestätiska, så hänga upp och ta ned dem i onödan gjorde man inte. Inga andra armaturer såg vi heller.






Eleganta biblioteket på Academy Bartels. Oglaserat tegelgolv, höga bokhyllor, skulpturer, fotografier, ett märkligt lågt bord och lite prylar som hör till en av föreläsningarna.






Fint på väggarna i biblioteket. Imke Schellekens-Bartels delade holländska lagguldet från EM i Windsor -09, inramat med rosett, stallplakett, program och foto.